1st International Education Lecture 国際交流サロン第1回

Hello everyone! Steven from Seika here. I’d like to tell you all about a series of monthly lectures I am doing, starting with the first lecture this month.


The lectures are held on the first Thursday of every month from 2:30 to 4:00 in the Seika Town Office. They provide opportunities for people interested in American history, culture, and society to discover new things about America and learn about how Americans view certain issues. The first lecture in the series, which focused on American colonial history and the Revolutionary War, was held on Thursday, June 6th.


Although the lecture included information on Native Americans and slaves brought to America from Africa, the main focus was on the Europeans who colonized the land starting in the 16th and 17th centuries. This largely reflects the way that this period is taught in American schools. Although the lecture attendees were mostly well-informed about American history, some were surprised at certain parts of the presentation. An example of this was the revelation that many Native Americans died upon the arrival of the European colonists because they lacked resistance to European diseases such as smallpox.


Of course, no discussion of Colonial America would be complete without discussion of the Pilgrims, who came to America to escape the religious discrimination they faced in England. This connected to one of my favorite parts of the lecture, which was explaining the history of my home city, Providence. Providence was founded by a man named Roger Williams who fled the Pilgrims’ strict religious rule. I also talked about why my home state, Rhode Island, has such a name despite not being an island. After Williams founded his colony, Providence Plantations, it later merged with a different colony called Rhode Island, which was actually located on an island. The newly-formed colony was named “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” and referred to as “Rhode Island” for short. To this day, the formal name for Rhode Island is “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”



Boston Massacre ボストン虐殺事件

After talking about the Colonial Period, the lecture proceeded to the Revolutionary War. Discussion of the war itself was preceded by an explanation of rising American frustration with taxation levied by the mother country, Great Britain. The lecture attendees generally knew about the major events leading up to the war, such as the Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party. However, many of them learned for the first time about famous lines associated with the war, such as “the shot heard ‘round the world” and “don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”


Washington Crossing the Delaware ワシントン氏がデラウェア川を渡河

植民地時代の次は、独立戦争の話に進みました。独立戦争について話す前に、米国における、母国の英国により課された税金に対する増えていく怒りについて説明しました。参加者はほとんどボストン虐殺事件やボストン茶会事件など戦争にたどる主な出来事についてすでに知っているようでした。しかし、「The shot heard ‘round the world」(世界中で聞こえた一発の銃声)や「Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes」(目の白いところが見えるまで撃つな)など、戦争の有名な一言について新しく知ったのではないかと思います。

The lecture concluded with a discussion of the events leading up to the British surrender at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, as well as the drafting of the Constitution following the war. Participants seemed to know about the two houses of the U.S. Congress, which were created as a compromise during the drafting process; the Senate was meant to protect smaller states by giving them the same amount of influence as larger states, while the House of Representatives, which distributed political power based on population, was aimed at placating the larger states. Less well-known was the infamous “Three-Fifths Compromise,” which was meant to placate the slavery-dependent American South by counting slaves (legally considered property at the time) as three-fifths of a person, hence entitling the South to more seats in the House of Representatives.



Newly independent United States of America 独立直後の米国

With that, the lecture wrapped up. The next lecture will be held on Thursday, August 1st and will focus on education in America. The lecture will be open to people who live or work in Seika or are Seika Global Network members. Details will be included in the July issue of Seika’s town newsletter, Hanaso. Hope to see you there!



3rd Annual American Kids 第3回の「アメリカン・キッズ」

Hey everyone, Margaret from Kameoka here. I’d like to share my recent event “American Kids” with you.


On May 25th, we held the 3rd annual American Kids summer day camp for kids in Kameoka. When I was growing up in the United States, I participated in summer camps every year during our 3 month summer vacation, and I am glad I have had the chance to share some of my experiences with the kids of my town.


I designed the event as a one day camp where I could teach camp craftsand games to the kids. I asked 3 of the Kyoto CIRs (Steven, Alice, and Mark), and 2 of Kameoka’s ALT’s (Lars and Mason) to help me out. Rather than try to teach English, I wanted the kids to have the chance to learn about games and crafts played by kids in America and to have a chance to interact with people from a different culture.



Staff Members スタッフ

We began with an ice-breaking activity to get the kids loosened up. We stood in a circle and had to pass a balloon around the circle without using our hands. It was especially difficult when there was a big height difference. The kids all seemed kind of nervous at first, but by the end of the game they were all laughing and making friends with the CIRs and ALTs.


Ice Breaking アイスブレーキング

Ice Breaking アイスブレーキング

This year we introduced a very difficult but very popular craft: a dreamcatcher. A dreamcatcher is a traditional Native American protective charm. If you hang it over your bed it will catch nightmares in the net and they will disappear, but good dreams will pass through the center hole and travel down the “legs” and into your head.



Dreamcatcher ドリームキャッチャー

Many of the kids had trouble with the intricate weaving, but with the help of the parents and staff members, each kid made their own beautiful dreamcatcher.


Making Dreamcatchers   ドリームキャッチャー作り

Making Dreamcatchers   ドリームキャッチャー作り


Making Dreamcatchers   ドリームキャッチャー作り

Then it was time for the relay races. First the kids had to race with a tennis ball between their knees. Some tried to run and some tried to jump, but everyone had a good time. Then, the kids learned the American style crab walk.



Tennis Ball Relay テニスボールリレー


American Crab Walk アメリカのカニウォーク

We finished up with a special English book introducing body parts and movements. All the kids joined in yelling out the answers and had great fun copying the motions together even though only three hours before they had been strangers. That’s the power of camp!



Reading an English Book    英語の絵本の読み聞かせタイム

国際理解講座「多文化社会 ~フランスとイギリス」 Multicultural Seminar: France and England

IMG_6811The rainy season has started and summer is around the corner! Alice from KPIC and Mark from the Kyoto Prefectural Office here.

On May 12th and 18th, we held an international understanding lecture with the theme “Multicultural cultures: France and the U.K”.


5月12日と18日に「多文化社会 ~フランスとイギリス」というテーマで国際理解講座を開きました。

Alice – Multicultural France
アリス ー 多文化フランス

Algerian family in Paris in the 60s 60年代 パリのアルジェリアの家族

Algerian family in Paris in the 60s
60年代 パリのアルジェリアの家族

The first lecture was about France and was held in Japanese. I started by quickly introducing the history of immigration in France, especially immigration from Africa and the Maghreb area (Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa that includes Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia especially). Indeed, this area used to be a French colony and has therefore deep ties with France and a long immigration history. Started in the 20th century, this relationship is now more than one century old! Despite many hardships, immigrants from ancient colonies (Maghreb, Africa) or neighbouring European countries (Spain, Portugal) are now well integrated into French society. Immigrants’ countries of origin have switched from Europe to other parts of Africa and the Middle East, especially Turkey and China recently.


Contrat d'accueil et d'integration 「統合契約」

Contrat d’accueil et d’integration

I then introduced the situation of immigrants in France. Representing 11% of the population, most of them live in Paris or in the Northeast area.

To help this population, the French government enacted a lot of policies and programs, such as the “Contrat d’Accueil et d’Integration” which allows immigrants to get free French language education and learn about basic living rules and their citizen rights. There is also a program called “Opening schools to parents to succeed integration” which allows parents of foreign origin to take French courses in the school their children are attending.


移民を支援するためにフランス政府が様々な政策を実施しています。例えば、「Contrat d’accueil et d’integration(融合契約)」に基づき移民がフランス語教育、公民権と生活ルールについての説明会を無料で受けられます。また「融合を成功させるために、学校で両親を受け入れよう!」というプログラムもあります。移民の両親は子供が通っている学校でフランス語の授業を受けることができます。

As a conclusion, I showed some parts of a movie called “Entre les murs” (the class) so that participants could see what a multicultural classroom looks like, and what are the pros and cons of having students with so many different cultural backgrounds together in one group.

After the presentation, a lot of people said they wanted to live in France and that they learned a lot thanks to this presentation. I hope they will enjoy their new life in France and I’m glad to have been helpful!

最後に、「Entre les murs(パリ20区)」という映画の一部を見せました。多文化の中学校クラス、様々な異文化の背景を持つ子供が一つのグループになる雰囲気が参加者に伝わり、多文化社会の利点と欠点についてみんなで考えました。


Naturalization ceremony 帰化式

Naturalization ceremony

Mark  – Multicultural England
マーク ー 多文化イギリス

A lot of people came たくさんの方が来ました

A lot of people came

A week later, I did my presentation in English. The room was nearly full with about 40 participants, which made me excited for my first presentation of this kind. When speaking about multiculturalism in the UK, I feel that it is really important to understand the history of the British Isles to understand just how Britain became so mixed. So I opened with a brief introduction to the main points of history, such as the Roman, Viking, and Norman invasions which mixed so many types of people together, then the effect and influence of the British Empire on immigration.



After a short break, I talked about what the UK is actually like, introducing all the different ethnicities of people there that may look different, but are all actually British. This was the main point, and I think I hit home with getting my message across to people. Finally, I compared the UK and Japan, and brought up a few topics to consider about the future of both countries.



Explaining about the UK

I feel like my presentation surprised people with just how multicultural Britain can be, and with a great video made by T-Mobile of people arriving at Heathrow Airport, I think the audience’s image of the UK has changed a bit. Participants mentioned how they will think differently about multiculturalism, and want to learn more about the UK. I’m very glad people are taking more of an interest in the UK and its multicultural society, as it’s something I’m proud of!